Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1211. To Jessie’s Dancing Feet
By William De Lancey Ellwanger
HOW, as a spider’s web is spun
With subtle grace and art,
Do thy light footsteps, every one,
Cross and recross my heart!
Now here, now there, and to and fro,        5
Their winding mazes turn;
Thy fairy feet so lightly go
They seem the earth to spurn.
Yet every step leaves there behind
A something, in thy dance,        10
That serves to tangle up my mind
And all my soul entrance.
How, as the web the spiders spin
And wanton breezes blow,
Thy soft and filmy laces in        15
A swirl around thee flow!
The cobweb ’neath thy chin that ’s crossed
Remains demurely put,
While those are ever whirled and tossed
That show thy saucy foot;        20
That show the silver grayness of
Thy stockings’ silken sheen,
And mesh of snowy skirts above
The silver that is seen.
How, as the spider, from his web,        25
Dangles in light suspense,
Do thy sweet measures’ flow and ebb
Sway my enraptured sense!
Thy fluttering lace, thy dainty airs,
Thy every charming pose—        30
There are not more alluring snares
To bind me with than those.
Swing on! Sway on! With easy grace
Thy witching steps repeat!
The love I dare not—to thy face—        35
I offer at thy feet.


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